Christmastime in 1960s Japan
In the years following World War II, the Japanese people looked to Santa Claus as a symbol of not just kindness and beneficence, but of modernity.
Onna-Bugeisha, the Female Samurai Warriors of Feudal Japan
In 1868 a group of female samurai took part in the fierce Battle of Aizu for the very soul of Japan.
Tearing Down Nakagin Capsule Tower
Japanese Metabolists argued that architecture should be adaptable, changing as a city changed. Why, then, is this icon of Metabolism being dismantled?
A Tale of Two Times: Edo Japan Encounters the European Clock
In country that followed a time-keeping system with variable hours, the fixed-hour clock of the Europeans had only symbolic value.
After the Volcano Erupts
The catastrophic eruption of Japan’s Ontake-san allowed residents to reconsider and reinvent their relationships to the mountainous landscape.
Sacred Trees in Japan
In the modern city of Tokyo, mature forests and trees form a spiritual bridge between past and present.
The Disappearance of Japan’s “Third Gender”
Gender roles in Edo Japan recognized an in-between position for young men, called Wakashu, that was erased as Japan westernized.
The Unlikely Role of Kitchens in Occupied Japan
After World War II, "occupationaries" tried to spread American-style domesticity to Japanese women.
When Scientific Management Came to Japan
Japanese workers, many of them women, worked up to 17 hours a day in the early 20th century. Yet experts still wondered why they “wasted” time.
A History of Human Waste as Fertilizer
In eighteenth century Japan, human excrement played a vital role in agriculture. Can similar solutions help manage waste today?